Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group Post-Focus on the Positive

Last month  I discovered that I tend to focus on the negative instead of the positive. This revelation came to me  during one of my son's soccer games, and it hit with all the force of a freight train.   After the game he asked if I noticed his assist.  I told him that I did, and it was good, but he needed to improve his touches.  He shrugged and said, "It figures, you always notice what I don't do."

I would have debated the point, but the truth is, he wasn't far off the mark.  If he brings home a report card with all A's and one B, I zero in on the lower grade. After giving this a lot of thought, I realized that this negativity also leaks into my writing.

As many of you know, I'm a member of some online critique sites.  When I first began my novel three years ago, I received a lot of negative feedback on my work.  Although it upset me a little, in retrospect, I expected nothing less.  After all, I was a fledgling fiction writer and it would take years to learn the craft.

One could argue (like my husband did)  that I turned the feedback into something positive by pushing myself to improve on my weaknesses.  Hell, I even overcame many of them.  Although this is good,  by concentrating on all the things I did poorly in, I failed to take pride in what I'd done right .

I think my negativity stems from a fear of failure.  If I tell myself I suck as a writer, then it won't sting so badly if I fail to publish. The problem with this logic is, negativity breeds more negativity.  It smothers out all the positive.  When I concentrate on my son's missed passes, I am so busy brooding that I fail to see the look of joy on his face when he has a goal assist.

For what it's worth.  I have turned over a new leaf.  From now on no more negativity.  I mean it.  All I did during my son's last two games was cheer him on.  I won't deny at first it seemed contrived, especially since I'm usually busy sideline coaching, but at the end of each game I felt really happy.  Leaving the commentary to the coaches freed up time to laugh with and enjoy the company of the other parents.  My son brought home a C the other day.  Instead of making a big deal out of it, I told him that although I didn't want this to become a habit, sometimes crap happens. We'd just study harder next time.

Essentially, there's no such thing as perfect.  Life's too short to try to achieve the impossible.  Each day is a gift, and I've decided to be thankful and appreciate all the blessings it brings.

What about you all?  Has anyone else ever had a similar experience.  If so, I'd be interested to know about it.  Until next time, happy writing.